One Hope, One Faith, One Ministry

An Interview with Tom Patton, Pastor of Congregational Care Ministry

“It used to be that if you were away for a Sunday at Grace Church, you could get a cassette tape to hear the message you missed. This was extremely helpful for our homebound saints and those who wanted to share the preaching of our pastor; not only did that ministry begin the lending library we had here for many years, but eventually it gave rise to Grace to You. Think about it: an international ministry started out of compassion for the homebound people in our local church. It was an attempt to recognize that for whatever reason—whether because of something like an accident, a new baby, a disease, or just the process of aging—that people couldn’t always be here, and we wanted to help these brothers and sisters feel as much a part of our church as possible.”

Tom Patton oversees our Congregational Care Ministry, and he uses this story to show that gospel ministry is less bifurcated than we often think. There aren’t two separate levels of ministry—local and global, evangelistic and discipleship-oriented, etc.—but one gospel that all people need to hear faithfully preached.

“The homebound ministry is really just an extension of Congregational Care in the sense that we are caring for the people of God here at Grace Church, whether they come to church or stay at home because of a physical limitation. In a way, with things like our current live stream ministry and the handwritten cards we send, we’re trying to fill in the spaces left by health struggles so people don’t fall through the cracks.”

It’s natural that global ministry would grow from local ministry. As believers, we’re part of one church, and everything we do is meant to point to the unity we have with one another through Christ. Homebound Ministry aims to encourage our homebound brothers and sisters by strengthening their bond with our church family despite any barriers posed by circumstances.

“Whether in the context of missions or caring for believers in the local church, the gospel has been the heart and soul of our church’s and our pastor’s ministry since its beginning. Because we have found such comfort in Christ, we look for ways to extend that comfort to others. And Homebound Ministry provides a great opportunity.”

If you’re interested in serving our church family in this way, you can write a card to one of our homebound saints and place it in an envelope with his or her name on the front, bring it to the church receptionist any day Sunday through Friday, and we’ll take it from there.

“Take this opportunity to remind our homebound brothers and sisters of Christ’s enduring love; remind them that others are praying for their needs.”

Remind them of the gospel.

For more information about Homebound Ministry, visit gracechurch.org/homebound.


Share